Three mobile policemen were seen setting houses ablaze in Otodo Gbame, a waterfront community in Lekki, Lagos, on Monday. The mobile policemen, deployed to maintain peace in the area currently in the grip of inter-ethnic violence, were seen torching buildings owned by the Egun people, with whom the Yoruba have been at daggers drawn in the community.
Otodo-Gbame exploded in violence last week when hoodlums and cultist gangs torched houses and brought in an excavator in the middle of the night to demolish houses.
Mr. Ahisu Celestine, leader of youths in Otodo-Gbame, told SaharaReporters that a woman named Ajoke Adebayo, proprietress of Children International School, was the person that invited the mobile policemen to the community. Mr. Celestine said he was surprised to see the policemen come into the community to chase people away from their homes before setting them ablaze.
“The mobile policemen were hired by Mrs. Ajoke Adebayo to guard the gate of her school because her school is close to the community,” Mr. Celestine explained. “They came into the community when they noticed that police officers from Jakande/Ilasan Police Station were not on ground. They don't have any other business here than to protect the woman's property. Why are they in our community burning people's houses?"
He also disclosed that last week, thugs and policemen demolished and burnt buildings in defiance of a court ruling prohibiting such. "The demolition was carried out by policemen, aided by thugs. The excavator would bring down the houses while the police officers torched the buildings. This was done after we got a court injunction restricting the Lagos State government or anybody from demolishing any waterfront community. This means that the police ignored the ruling of the court and went ahead to demolish our buildings, making thousands of our people homeless," Mr. Celestine said.
SaharaReporters gathered that the Baale (traditional ruler) of Otodo Gbame, Dansu Hunkpe, has yet to be released from police custody since his arrest last week. It was gathered that the traditional ruler personally called the Jakande Police Station to inform the police of what was happening in the community in the hope that the situation would be arrested. However, according to local sources, the police arrested the Baale after arriving in the community.
Mr. Celestine said residents of the community have nowhere else to go and maintained that the Egun people would resist any attempt to displace them from the century-old community.